So the NFL owners have decided that it’s more important to show unity than honoring the flag and what it stands for.
In a decision that pleases no one who believes in the First Amendment, players who do not wish to honor the flag by standing are excused from the former rule — that said every player must be on the field during the National Anthem — and can remain in the locker room.
If a player or coach is on the field, then they will stand or be subject to a team/league fine.
“We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
And like any ruling meant to please both sides, this move by the owners placates neither side.
As I wrote in the past, even as a journalist, I do not have a First Amendment right to do whatever I wish in the work place. I cannot write whatever I want and I cannot act anyway I want.
This is the core point: The NFL players are in the workplace on game day. Office rules apply.
Well to show how contentious the issue is, no sooner had the measure been announced than New York Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said the team would support the players right to choose as far as kneeling goes, and would not issue any team fines and would pay for league penalties.
So while the NFL said the measure was passed unanimously, ironically San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York abstained from the vote. York’s ex-QB Colin Kaepernick ignited this action in 2016 as a way to bring attention to the plight of young African-American men and their plight within the criminal justice system.